I am the kind of person who tends to over plan and execute according to it. I hate deviations in the plan. But since retirement I am trying hard to change this style. You see, early retirement is all about enjoying life as it comes, but here I am programmed to execute according to a plan. Don’t get me wrong, my incessant planning and careful execution is what got me to retiring as early as I did. So it is not like I am going to throw away this trait. It helped me a lot. At the same time, I don’t want to be a carefree soul without a plan. That would be quite careless if not reckless. Instead I want to try something different, a middle ground if I can call it that.
I like to have a plan and want to execute according to it. If something interrupts the plan, I get frustrated and try to get back to it as much as possible, as soon as possible. But it need not be that way always. Take for example, I plan to write a blog post on Monday, practice karate on Tuesday and take my daughter to a fun place on Wednesday. Then if something unexpected comes up on Tuesday, say an unexpected guest arrived and I cannot do my karate session, it bothers me much. I can’t move it to Wednesday because something else is already planned for that day. So I try and make time in the night and do my exercise. This delays my sleep and as you can imagine, it has a bunch of not so good cascading effects.
On the other hand, I noticed some people who flow with whatever happens in life. First, they don’t have a plan. And even if they did have one, and it gets completely disrupted, it does not seem to bother them. While I don’t want to go to that extent, I would like to learn a thing or two from that kind of behavior. It is not that I lose my cool or anything (although I sometimes do), but it is more about being bothered by plans changing all the time. I want to learn to not be bothered.
If I planned to read a bunch of blogs or watch some videos and they keep on piling over days because there are some disruptions, it bothers me. If I wanted to finish a task and it keeps moving to the next day, it bothers me. If I expect a plumber to come tomorrow and he does not come the day or the next it bothers me.
When I say disruptions, I don’t mean unexpected events like accidents or health issues. Those I anticipate and they don’t bother me. For example, if I fall sick and can’t do a planned workout, it is fine. Likewise, if my daughter fell and broke her arm, then going to hospital and other events may disrupt my plans. I am not bothered by these things. Life happens and those I anticipate. The disruptions I am talking about are those that you don’t even anticipate and don’t have a plan for. Say for example, one morning I feel like skipping lunch at home and go out and eat at a restaurant. I cannot make that decision on a whim. I should already know yesterday that today we are going out to eat.
While such sudden change of plans may break discipline, they also add a bit of spice to life and I want to try that out. At some point one of my friend suggested living life without a plan. Still can’t do it :). It is not to say I am not enjoying life this way. I just love the way I operate and I would love to continue to be that way. The only thing that I want to practice is not to be bothered and yet continue with my plan somehow without being too OCD about it. It is a bit like what is said in the movie Lawrence of Arabia - “The trick, is not minding that it hurts”.
Recently there have been a regular flow of disruptions and unexpected events happening one after the other in our life. So I had to keep changing and revising my plans. Yet I tried not to stress over them and just going with the flow. Just like I learned to not be bother by physical pain, I am slowly learning to not be bothered by these new events. Now, if my new car gets flooded in a downpour when I have to go out for an important work tomorrow, I won’t mind (that did not happen in case you are wondering). If someone broke a thing today, that I so carefully built for several months so I can use it tomorrow, I don’t want to be bothered (that also did not happen). I want to reach that kind of state under these circumstances.
Next, I want to have some wiggle room in my planning. Normally my plans are designed to be super efficient and if something breaks which I don’t expect to break, there is very little wiggle room. Of course I make my plans anticipating all kinds of disruptions and add buffer for them. Still, if the unexpected happens, all hell breaks loose. Like yesterday I was chatting with a couple of friends and one of them mentioned how COVID-19 uncovered the risk of excessively efficient systems like hospitals in developed countries like Italy. They did not expect such a massive disruption to health due to COVID-19. Not just in Italy but most countries I guess.
Sorry there is nothing useful in this post for you. It is just one of those random banters of mine. Thankfully I kept it short for you so as to not waste your time :). Remember this is a personal blog which is meant to be a bunch of informal diary-style text entries. As such, sometimes you have to bear with these kinds of things.